Chapter 7 - From Class Teacher to Pack Leader
From 2006 I start working as a full-time educated full-time teacher and from approx. In 2008, I begin to work more and more intensely with my self-esteem and inner calm through meditation and self-awareness. I soon discover how the incredibly simple and 100 percent no-nonsense approach of Japanese Zen Buddhism speaks to me and in the following years I spend a lot of time on my Zen training consisting of zazen (meditation) and koans (insoluble riddles and paradoxes). . For a period of time, I move in and live at a zen monastery, to dedicate all my time to my zen Buddhist work.
In early 2014, my wife and I move into our villa apartment in Hellerup and approx. At the same time, I realize that the teaching job I have been training for and contested for 8 years can no longer accommodate my fiery soul's desire to change and go my own way. My meditation and zen training has reached a point where as humans, I can no longer find myself spending my life in a way that does not harmonize with my innermost values, thoughts and feelings.
Since my time with Basco, the dogs have called me and now I feel ready to answer their call. I have watched a program on the television about Dog Walkers in the US and I decide that this is how I want to reconcile my love for dogs with the material obligations of family life. I stand with my new wife, my new house and my new child, but I have no recollection of hesitating, or being in doubt or afraid. All I remember is the desire for new life with the dogs and the active things I did to manifest this dream!
Here is my first flyer that I distributed in the neighborhood in the spring of 2014. When I look at it today, I must say that my perception of the verb "experienced" may have been tightened up a bit since the time when my experience primarily consisted of Basco, Edvard, Victor, Mopsen and Arnold. But everything is as you say relatively and you can also say that the thousands of hours I have spent with the many dogs over the last 4 years just made me more experienced. :-)
It took a while, but approx. Two months after I handed out the flyers, Hero's father called me and the week after Seppo's mother. Now I was starting my new life and I haven't looked back since. Here you can see me on one of my first trips with Seppo and Hero, as well as my own dogs Karla and Arnold.
After Hero and Seppo came Max, Dolly, Bailey, Scarlet, Balder, Frida, Berta, Coby, Futte, Manfred, Cille, Karla, Coco, etc. and I think I have soon aired near 100 different dogs over time . A few have died, a few more have moved, but most of them are fortunately still with me and I see them every week in Hundehaven or on Pack Walk.
As a classroom teacher, I was 100 percent committed to the well-being of the children's flock, and I realized then that even if most individuals had challenges, the power of community, if properly tethered and guided, could lift the individual up and out of their own world with challenges and give it a foundation to thrive and function in a group - sometimes against all odds.
Exactly the same with a large flock of dogs! Probably all of the dogs each have their challenges and "edges", but if they are properly attacked, then with the help of the flock you can invite any dog with challenges to become an important and unique part of the flock's community, so that the dog that a month ago should use the herd's power to overcome themselves and become an integral part of the large community, today can play a crucial role in helping the new dog in the herd find its inner flock identity and thereby realize oneself as a social being. Hereby dogs do not differ from humans or vice versa!
In the picture below you can see my new "classroom" in the Hellerup Dog Walk's garden. Like when I was teaching children, there is someone listening better than others when the boss is talking. :-D